Monday, 24 February 2014

Panicking slightly...

...Ofsted tomorrow!

If there is one word calculated to strike fear into the heart of anyone involved in education in the UK, it is "Ofsted".

As chair of governors of a large primary school I am having a chat with them tomorrow. I am taking at least nine others in with me, but I am not at all in the right frame of  mind. It may be a long evening!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Fresh air!

Today has been the first really good weather day in the UK since before Christmas. It has been more or less continual rain, wind or usually both for weeks, resulting in the worst flooding for years across much of the country. We have got away fairly lightly, with an inch of water in the garage and a lawn the consistency of chocolate mousse. I am not complaining; many people have put up with far, far worse.

This afternoon the sun was shining, so we bundled up and headed out to Wakehurst Place, our favourite place for a walk. We never seem to get tired of it, and if you know where to go you can avoid the hordes of similarly cabin-feverish folk.

Blue sky!  Space!
Wakehurst is home to the Millennium Seed Bank, which has inspired some large-scale sculpture:

 There was also some fairly exotic wildlife:

This is actually a musical instrument, children (and adults) can hit various parts of it with wooden pegs. We all enjoyed trying it out, although I'm not sure what the North American animals would make of Sussex!

There were definite signs of spring, with swathes of cyclamen and snowdrops.

It was so good to just get out and breathe.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cheesy broccoli pasta

I am still enjoying my weekly delivery of veggies. My supplier has a new family box cleverly called the "star-spudded" box. This is great because it is heavier on carrots and potatoes and lighter on fennel and aubergines. In other words, kids are more likely to eat the contents. Don't get me wrong, I am all for children being exposed to new vegetables, and I am sure many of you have offspring who will happily tuck into kohl rabi or Jerusalem artichokes. All of my efforts with DD have spectacularly failed and anything beyond carrots, peas and onions is definitely suspect.

However, broccoli does feature regularly in my box. DD will not eat it; for her it ranks slightly below Brussels sprouts in her league of most-hated veg. She does, however, love macaroni cheese so I had a go at a cheesy broccoli pasta bake, (recipe here).

It was very easy to make and very tasty to eat. DH is lactose intolerant and we always use lactose-free milk. He loved it and didn't suffer unduly. DD picked out all the broccoli. Oh well!

Friday, 7 February 2014

A little taste of Italy

A new deli specialising in Italian and Polish food has opened in town. I didn't manage to resist. I might have to avoid that road in future.

The little pastry boats are "Barchette Giandua" and are filled with chocolate and hazelnut paste; (think Nutella). The mini cartwheel biscuits are light. crunchy and unfortunately very more-ish. I fear for my waistline!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

In a bind...

I love new notebooks. They are full of possibilities; I could keep a journal, write poetry, make endless lists, change my life... They can also be beautiful and I am often to be found admiring them in the stationery aisle. They are also expensive so I have been playing with making my own.
I found the instructions in my "Homemaker" magazine which I have been given a subscription to. There is a similar set of instructions here. The paper was also free in the magazine and was designed by Alice Potter

It was a fun project, and a lot quicker than my usual makes! I am thinking that they would make unusual presents. After I've written that poetry and started my journal!